n Mental Health Matters - Suicide in youth : a preventable taboo




Although suicide has historically been more prevalent among older people, suicide among youth, especially between the ages of 15-19 years, has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years. According to Prof Laurens Schelbusch of the Univerity of KwaZulu Natal), suicidology expert, South Africa, 9.5% of all non-natural deaths in young people are due to suicide, and 1 in every 5 young people have attempted suicide. The most significant contributor to suicide is an untreated mental illness, and although suicide is in itself not a disease, mental disorders is a major factor associated with suicide. This is particularly alarming since the majority of youth with a mental health disorder do not receive the treatment they require, and less than 1% of mental hospital beds are for children and adolescents. The psychological and social impact of suicide on the family and society is immeasurable. On average, single suicide intimately affects at least six other people.


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